Members of Alnwick and District Camera Club enjoyed a special evening when Paul Stevenson from Berwick gave his presentation entitled Breaking the Norm.
Paul developed late onset Tourette syndrome after the tragic loss of a friend. This devastating condition changed his life and for a time he was unable to face the outside world and was virtually confined to his home.
However, things began to change when his wife gave him a small digital camera. This encouraged him to venture out and he found that when he became involved in the creative activity of photography, his symptoms were greatly reduced.
He had no formal training in photography and so was not constrained by the rules that can be a barrier to creativity. As a result, he has produced some stunningly original pictures.
He staged an exhibition at a local library as a means of getting back into society and this was well received. He has also had an excellent response to work that he has posted online and has won a number of competitions.
From the examples he showed, including superb landscapes and a beautiful close up portrait of his son, there is no doubt of his talents. Many of his pictures are now being sold to raise funds for the charity Tourettes Action.
Through his photography, Paul has done a great deal to inform people about Tourettes, both in this country and abroad. Recently, he took part in the BBC2 series Employable Me, highlighting the difficulties experienced by those with neurological problems when trying to find employment. He is also setting up photography workshops for children with Tourettes, autism and ADHD.
Although he has yet to find fully paid employment, he has just been appointed photographer in residence for the Natural Trust and is documenting the refurbishment of Lindisfarne Castle.